Paul argues that the Christian life is NOT lived by following some external law(s) but by living and walking in the Spirit.
Author & Date
Galatians is one of Paul’s earliest, if not the earliest, of his letters. It would appear to have been written in between the first two missionary journeys when the question of circumcision cropped up see Acts. 15.
Christ the deliverer from the Law
A. God or man? Ch.1-2
1. Paul’s example in:
- Apostleship Ch.1:1-5
- Receiving the Gospel Ch.1:11-17
- Labouring Ch. 1:18-2:10
- Rebuking the works of the flesh Ch.2:11-19
- Living the life Ch. 2:20-21
2. The Galatians
- Are soon removed Ch.1:6-10
B. Flesh or Spirit? Ch.3:-5:15
1. Two Ways
- Faith or works? Ch.3:5-14
- Promise or law?Ch.3:15-25
- Sons or servants? Ch.3:26-4:7
- Jerusalem above or Sinai below ? Ch.4:8-31
- Liberty or bondage? Ch.5:1-6
2. The Galatians
- Bewitched Ch.3:1-4
- Turned back Ch.4:8-20
C. Fruit or Works? Ch.5:16-6:18
1. The Galatians
- Hindered Ch.5:7-15
2. End result
- Either flesh or Spirit Ch.5:16-18
- Works of the flesh Ch.5:19-21
- Fruit of the Spirit Ch.5:22-23
- Fruit seen in practice Ch.5:24-6:18
a. The audience
Galatia was a region in what was called Asia Minor. Paul was addressing several churches in this region. This is seen by the fact that when writing to Christians in a city he uses the singular. Compare Gal.1:2 & I Cor.1:2. Which specific churches Paul was addressing has been the subject of much debate. The simplest answer is: the churches he had visited and established on his journeys. Not that it matters,. What does matter is the message of the book.
In the early church Jews, whether converts or not, had tried to bring the Gentiles Christians into bondage by imposing on them the old Mosaic law. This, Paul argues, negates justification by faith and walking in the Spirit. The Christian life is NOT lived by following some external law(s) but by living and walking in the Spirit.
c. Some Key Words
Ch.1:6 Removed = to transfer
Ch.1:7 Pervert = change to the opposite
Ch.3:1 Bewitched = to fascinate
Ch.5:1 Liberty = in Greek society a slave to the temple would had been deemed to have been bought by the ‘gods’, and could never be sold as a slave to anyone else.
Ch.5:7 Hinder = break up the road/place an obstacle
Ch.5:8 Persuasion = Influence in order to win round.
Ch.5:13 Occasion = Bridgehead